Mile 737.6 – Mile 861.8
Today the trail went along Blueridge Parkway. It was neat to pop out of the trail, cross the road, and see a paved lookout.I ended up making it to a shelter right before a storm rolled in. That was good timing. It passed in about an hour and we kept moving.
In the last hour or so of my day I crossed the parkway one last time and came across some trail magic. It was almost like they knew we were coming.
Hot. Just a very hot day.
I did get to swim in a swimming hole at Jennings Creek. It was so refreshing. Some locals were swimming too and offered me a chicken salad sandwich. I gladly accepted.
The climbs after creek were so difficult. I kept doubting myself throughout each climb. It wasn’t exactly the best thing to do halfway up a mountain.
I saw Queen Anne’s Lace that was 7 feet tall. That was amazing.
I woke to the sound of buzzing black flies. I started walking. Bugs in my face. Bugs in my ears. Every time I stopped, I was swarmed. I have about 30 bites on my legs. It’s just a bad time for pests. Real bad. And it really makes the day a bummer.
I did save some baby mice from getting squashed. They were right in the middle of the trail.
Made it Glasgow! Shower, Food, Laundry, and Rest – in that order.
I’m staying at the free shelter in town. It’s really nice. There’s a free shower, electrical outlets to charge your phone, 12 bunks, and a restaurant and grocery store within a 2 minute walk.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been pretty disappointed with myself lately. Some days this week, I’ve only hiked 12 miles. My body feels weak and tired when I think it should feel stronger and energized. It’s absolutely not where I expected myself to be at this point and it’s hard for me not to achieve higher mileage.
Duane swears I have the “Virginia Blues”. I’m in denial about that. Regardless, I need to stay positive and I think I need to eat more. Not eating enough might have to do with the tiredness.
Man, the bugs are bad. I know I already mentioned this but it’s awful. I picked 4 more ticks off of Stretch today. I also noticed a flea on him this morning. Trying to get rid of fleas out here should be fun. My legs are full of scabs now and when I scratch them and open the scab, the little flies land on the wound and bite. So so gross.
I’m almost to mile 800!
I hope to keep up a better pace in the next two weeks. I’d like to be around mile 960 in two weekends from now.
Today I got rocked by a mountain. It was a 3000 or so foot climb and it was way humid. I brought an extra liter and a half of water up with me. I am glad I did but it was super difficult carrying that extra weight.
I bet a drank about 6 liters of water today.
I was looking ahead on my app of the trail and it looks like that’s the last super tough climb for a long while. That’s very good news.
I’m still feeling down about my mileage. I’ve been eating more protein and drinking more water but these climbs really suck the energy out of me. I can tell Stretch is struggling too.
I kept questioning myself over and over today. I know I want to do this and I know I want to complete ii but when you do the same exact thing each day and spend the entire day alone, it’s hard not to think negatively.
Since I quit the day early, I made this 800 out of leaves. It took me about an hour. Haha.
I finally made it to a normal mileage goal – 18.1. I feel proud, content, and happy. I definitely could have walked longer today too but I knew Stretch needed some rest.
This morning I passed through some beautiful fields.
A thunderstorm hit right as we left the shelter this afternoon. Pretty funny timing I guess. Stretch kept looking at me like he was asking me to do something about it. We were both soaked within 2 minutes.
I camped right by the ledges tonight. There’s a pretty nice lookout.
Today was tough again. I felt overwhelmingly lonely. I cried off and on during the day and thought about everyone back home and imagined what they were up to.
I’m really trying hard to get out of this funk I’m in. It’s stupid. I know I don’t want to be doing anything else at the moment. I know I want to be out here. I want to experience every step. I want to complete it. And enjoy it. And I know I can.
Here’s a photo of my sweet pup I took this morning on top of Priest Mountain –
I’m camped at Devils Backbone Brewery tonight. Pretty great food and pretty great brews. I chatted with a couple for a few hours that were vacationing and celebrating their 37th wedding anniversary. They were so interested me and what I was doing. I loved answering their questions. It was really flattering and made me feel good about myself.
Some guy asked me tonight what was up with my legs. I said well, I haven’t shaved in a couple weeks and the bugs are bad this time of year. I mean, come on! I’m not exactly trying to win a pageant over here.
I got a late start today because I had to wait to get a ride back from the brewery staff.
I saw my first rattlesnake today! It was actually really pretty. It was black and gray and moved slow and elegantly.
Tomorrow I’ll be in Waynesboro. I plan to stay at a motel and eat at the Chinese buffet. Everyone has been talking about this buffet all week so I’m pretty pumped about it.
I had a pretty easy day today. I hiked 9 miles into Rockfish Gap and hitched a ride into Waynesboro.
I made it to the Chinese Buffet and it didn’t disappoint. I just wish I could have eaten more. I was stuffed by plate 2 1/2.
This evening I’m relaxing. I went to Walmart to grab some resupply food earlier. I’ll get free breakfast at the inn tomorrow morning and head out soon after. Shenandoah National Park tomorrow!
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